Jealous of Snails for Week 46 (Decluttering and Simplifying 2010)

It’s a rainy Saturday here in North Texas, and that’s nice. We had planned to be home anyway, and we haven’t had any rain in a long time.

I managed to sneak in a few minutes of mowing around the driveway before the rain started this morning, and that’s nice, too. Our mild weather has made the weeds grow much faster than usual. They should be dying by now, but this October rainstorm will assure they continue for a few more weeks.

We haven’t had any problems around the house in weeks, but one may be developing. The little GFCI button in the bathroom– the thing that breaks the circuit if something electrical comes in contact with water (required in many places in bathrooms) — popped out a few minutes ago and won’t reset. If I remember right, the outside outlet at the back of the house in on that same circuit, and if the caulk has failed around the new plate I put on it last year… That would be the simplest solution, but it’s still raining, so we’ll have to check that later. It might be even simpler if the outlet with the button has simply gone bad. I might actually be able to replace one of those.

Last week, I pointed out three areas in which I’m trying to improve my life along with my progress in each of them. These aren’t the only areas of concern to me, but they’re top of mind at the moment. Here’s how things are going with each of them.

Reducing Clutter

It’s amazing how little pieces of paper mount up. My desk is covered with them again, but that isn’t necessary a bad thing. Those pieces of paper often contain writing ideas, pieces of information I’ll later find valuable and other useful bits of stuff. Lots of paper on my desk means my juices are flowing.

But… The PayPal debit card in my billfold, as it turns out, was expired. PayPal informed me that I activated the new one way back in February, so I must have gotten it. Could it be buried in those little pieces of paper? As it turns out, it was. I found it Thursday evening — and eliminated dozens of now-useless papers, too. Of course, I had to look a couple of other places before I decided that I must have had it last at the computer. And that means I threw away some papers from elsewhere, too.

I had completely cleaned my desk earlier this year and it is already “cluttered” with lots of paper. As I said, however, it’s not entirely a bad thing — and some of it is gone now anyway.

Reducing Expenses

Last week I told you I eliminate a whopping $6 a month from my business budget by downgrading my postage printing software. I made very slightly more progress this week. By changing options on one of my sales venues, I’ll be saving $15 to $20 per month. I told my mother about the savings, and she’s making a similar change to her bookselling business, too.

I still haven’t contacted my credit card companies to see if I’m still getting a good rate. There are very few other options for reducing bills — other than eliminating trash service, which I still want to do.

My biggest chance for major savings is changing cars, and I haven’t completed my research on that.

Returning to Freelance Writing

This has been going well — at least on the low end. I have more than a dozen short, simple and low-paying articles assigned to me by a blogger who is looking for help filling up her blogs, and I hope to get a few of those done this evening. After I mentioned this topic last week, one commenter suggested content mills — sites that pay for keyword-oriented articles — and I had already looked into those. The pay is very, very, very low, but they can fill some time when there’s no real assignment pending.

I signed up for a couple of other content mills and also did a few other promotional activities, but I don’t have any breakthroughs to report on this quite yet.

Overall, however, this week’s report is marked by very slow progress once again. I just saw a snail passing me by.


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